The Sexual Abuse Assessment and Treatment Service (SAATS) is a specialist sexual assault medical service available to people in New Zealand of all ages and genders who may have experienced sexual assault
SAATS services are located throughout the country and are FREE of charge.
MEDSAC is the key medical forensic advisor to these services, and provides the training, accreditation and support of the clinicians working within them.
Getting specialist medical help after sexual assault
If you have experienced any type of sexual violence (sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harm, or rape), a specialist sexual assault medical service (SAATS) can make sure you are okay and help deal with any concerns you may have about your health.
It’s normal to feel anxious about seeking medical help after you have experienced any type of sexual violence however a medical service can be a good thing, even if the assault happened a long time ago, and whether or not you want to involve the police.
Read our brochure 'Getting specialist medical help after sexual assault' to find out how it can help.
By having a medical examination, just knowing that you are physically okay can give great relief, a sense of control, and can be an important step towards recovery.
Medical examination for recent and past assault
You can have a medical examination even if you don't want to involve the police. A medical examination will help assess:
Injuries: for assessment and treatment. If you would like to involve the police, any injuries can be documented for police reporting.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): A full STI check can be provided along with any preventative treatment.
Pregnancy: treatment can be provided to prevent pregnancy within the first few days.
Psychological needs: Emotional effects from what has happened are common and finding the right support for this is something most people need help with. Everyone reacts differently in these situations. Some people will want to talk to someone soon, others will want to do so later. A claim can be lodged with ACC that will let you access funded counselling at any time in the future.
Forensic examination after a recent assault
If the assault happened within seven days:
You can choose to have an examination that can include the collection of samples for evidence (forensic examination) and make a statement to the police. Ideally this is done as soon as possible after the assault as evidence is lost over time.
If you don't know whether you want the police involved and want to leave your options open, that's okay. The clinician can do a forensic examination, but instead of giving this evidence to the police, it can be safely stored for you until you have had time to decide what you want to do. The team will let you know how long it can be stored for.
Note: No medical examination of any sort will be done without your full consent.
Referral to other support services
Immediate crisis support (refuges/safe accommodation)
Court support services
This information has been adapted from material provided on the Cambridge Clinic website.
How to access a specialist sexual assault medical service (SAATS)
There are several ways:
You can access a service directly without a referral. OurFind SAATS Servicespage lists the medical sexual assault clinics around the country, and how to get in touch with your nearest crisis support agency if you want counselling or advice.
Ask the Police to refer you.
Ask your GP, Family Planning Clinic or Sexual Health Clinic to refer you
Ask the Hospital or 24 Hour surgery to refer you
Ask Oranga Tamariki (previously known as CYFs) to refer you if you are under 18
Can I talk to someone about my options?
YES, you can, there is a national Helpline. For free 24/7 confidential contact with trained specialists who can connect you to sexual harm support services in your community, you can get in touch with Safe to talk: